Monday, April 5, 2010

The Hawks and Sparrows- Paolo Pasolini

First there were speaking crows then there were carrier pigeons then there is twitter....

"A little birdie told me"--The phrase has a somewhat contentious origin: some attribute it to Ecclesiastes 10:20 "for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter", while others believe that it originates from the Dutch saying Er lif t'el baerd "I should betray another." A third explanation is a simple allusion to carrier pigeons or other such messenger birds.

Le Cant du Styrene- Alain Resnais 1958

I just think the intro part is fuckin wickid!

Celluloid is derived from cellulose and alcoholized camphor. John Wesley Hyatt invented celluloid as a substitute for the ivory in billiard balls in 1868. He first tried using collodion a natural substance, after spilling a bottle of it and discovering that the material dried into a tough and flexible film. However, the material was not strong enough to be used as a billiard ball, until the addition of camphor, a derivative of the laurel tree. The new celluloid could be molded with heat and pressure into a durable shape.
Besides billiard balls, celluloid became famous as the first flexible photographic film used for still photography and motion pictures. John Wesley Hyatt created celluloid in a strip format for movie film. By 1900, movie film was an exploding market for celluloid. (By Mary Bellis, Guide)

Clarke. -Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, October 1999.
-ISBN 1-56098-827-4

Ice- Robert Kramer 1970

"M" Fritz Lang 1931

Its just sad really isnt it

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alan Clarke's Elephant

Clarke gives you a lot of time to think in this film.  Sans dialogue and very little sound in general, except for the footsteps and the odd bird twittering, there are very little distractions.  I am focused on what the character is about to do, what he is thinking and going through mentally.  Each time there is a pause before the killer shoots, and I think, he could change his mind...but he never does.  To me its all about this moment (as seen in the pictures)where the camera goes back to the shot of the person who has just been shot and murdered.
All the people killed are in the process of doing something, daily activities such as; playing footie, mopping, working at a store and doing the deeds that get them through the day.  The relatively long shot of the murdered individual gives me a lot of time to think about the person, we know nothing about them, this just makes me question their life and wonder if they would have ever expected that this would be the day or the way that they would die.  Imagine being killed while you are mopping the floors in a deserted tragic.  
Also it seems that there are no witnesses around.  All the places are deserted and lonely.  When someone gets shot I'm expecting someone to run up screaming, crying and calling for help.  I'm expecting a reaction, both from the victim and someone around.  In general the film makes me feel like its very easy to kill someone.  Like, oh, I could do that!  Just shoot it and walk away!  There is no pleading or screaming by the victims, no significant hesitation and not too much blood or gruesomeness.  Save for some light blood splatters on the camera lens.  
After each killing life goes on as usual, the cars keep driving by, the birds keep chirping and the silence continues.  Life as usual.  No one is missed.